The house to which Winnie Madikizela-Mandela was banished to by the apartheid government in the 70s will soon put the sleepy town of Brandfort in the Free State on the tourism map.

This as the house is finally being restored.

Allegations of monies gone missing after having been allocated for restoration by the province have dogged the project for years.

Madikizela-Mandela’s Brandfort house was declared a National Heritage site in 2005 and finally after years of empty promises to restore the house, it’s finally being done.

Director General of the Department of Arts and Culture Vusimuzi Mkhize says: “It must look exactly the way it was when she lived there. It’s not just about restoring the house it’s also about creating what we call a proper museum with the restoration of the bombed clinic as well as creating the interpretive centre and also an internet hub so that people who live in Brandfort can go and use it for internet purposes, students for research and their study work.”

This has sparked renewed hope among the residents.

“I’m so excited and very happy about the project because it has been long so it is going to benefit especially our kids and also the community of Brandfort. We will be very happy about the project,” says a resident.

“As a resident in Brandfort I’m very happy because our children are going to see tourists coming here. Our children will learn a lot about what was happening here when Winnie was living here,” adds another resident.

About R3 million has been budgeted for the restoration.